HAWAII ISLAND – Tropical Storm Darby is now 60 miles south southeast of Hilo and moving west at 10 mph.
Darby has weakened a little more, with maximum sustained winds at 45 mph. A wind gust to 54 mph was measured in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park earlier this morning.
Heavy rains are being reported in East Hawaii. Kapuna Road was closed in Hamakua earlier today. Storm total rainfall of 10 to 15 inches, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches, could produce life-threatening flash floods and landslides.
Darby’s forecasted track still takes it over Hawaii Island, but it appears to be taking a southern route across the Big Island.
A tropical storm warning remains in effect. A high surf warning is also in effect.
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
A Flash Flood Warning is in effect until 11:30 a.m. and may be extended.
At 9:34 a.m. HST, radar indicated heavy rain continuing over the windward slopes of the Big Island. The heaviest rainfall with rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour were occurring over the Hamakua district between Ninole and Waimea.
Locations in the warning include but are not limited to: All locations in the North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo and Puna districts.
The U.S. Coast Guard is closing Hawaii and Maui County ports to all traffic.
Vessels transiting within the vicinity of the Hawaiian Island harbors (Hilo and Kawaihae) should seek sheltered waters until storm conditions subside and the Coast Guard Captain of the Port has deemed the ports safe to reopen.
All cargo operations in these ports are secured.
Once the storm has passed and the threat of severe weather has subsided, the USCG, Army Corp of Engineers and State of Hawaii will jointly conduct surveys of channel blockage and prioritize steps to resume essential, then normal, vessel traffic. The Coast Guard says these steps are to minimize risk of damage to vessels and assess the conditions of channels, aids to navigation, waterfront facilities, piers and other infrastructure.
“I am committed to reopening each port as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Capt. Mike Long, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port. “Following the storm, the conditions of the ports will be evaluated and changed dependent on the port assessment.”
HAWAII COUNTY CLOSURES
- Hawaii County officials say the Hele-On Bus service will be suspended today until further notice. Resumption of service will depend on road and weather conditions. Solid Waste Transfer Stations and Landfills are also be closed.
- Hawaii County Civil Defense says Umauma Bridge on Highway 19 along the Hamakua Coast is closed with a detour through Old Mamalahoa Highway.
- All camping and pavilion reservations at County and State parks have been cancelled today through Sunday.
- All backcountry areas and certain roads in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, are closed.
- County lava viewing and swimming pools are closed.
- All State and County park facilities are closed until further notice.
“If possible and safe, shelter in place or with family and friends,” civil defense says. “However, the following pet friendly emergency shelters open today at 4 pm: Waiakea High, Kalanianaole Elementary, Keaau High, Pahoa High, Honokaa High and Intermediate, Kealakehe High, Konawaena High and Ka’u High. Requirements for pets that need shelter are listed at hawaiicounty.gov. Bring bedding, food, water and any personal items you may need.”
Hilo High, Laupahoehoe Community Charter School, Mountain View Elementary, Waikoloa Elementary, and Kohala High and Elementary open today but are unable to accommodate pets. Again, bring bedding, food, water and any personal items you may need.
The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron has been flying through Darby all morning, providing valuable data as to Darby’s strength and size. Maximum flight level winds near 50 kt indicate that Darby has weakened slightly since their visit last night, and the initial intensity for this advisory has been reduced to 40 kt.
The initial motion is estimated to be 280/09 kt, with the poorly-defined center of Darby located on the north side of the deep convection. Track guidance is fairly well clustered this time around, and continues to indicate that the center of Darby will move over the Big Island later today as it moves toward the west. Darby is expected to move into a weakness in the mid-level ridge to its north over the next day or so, due to a deep-layer low centered well to the north of the Hawaiian Islands. This will result in a gradual turn toward the northwest, as well as a gradual increase in forward speed. The official track forecast is close to the previous and a tightly clustered guidance suite, and offers no significant changes.
As seen in water vapor imagery, Darby is embedded in an environment characterized by dry mid- and upper-levels, well captured by special soundings from Lihue and Hilo this morning. Additionally, vertical wind shear on the order of 10 to 15 kt is taking its toll on the system, and deep convection has been struggling to organize over the center. The updated intensity forecast indicates that Darby will remain a tropical storm through 24 hours, after which time increasing shear and gradually cooling water temperatures will lead to a slow but steady weakening, with Darby becoming a remnant low at the end of the forecast period, close to guidance provided by SHIPS/LGEM. The intensity forecast assumes that Darby will be able to maintain some organization as it interacts with the terrain of the Big Island but no longer considers an alternative track scenario. NWS CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER HONOLULU at 11 am HST